Wednesday, February 4, 2009

'The Ballad of Blind Tom, Slave Pianist: America's Lost Musical Genius' by Deirdre O'Connell

[The Ballad of Blind Tom, Slave Pianist: America's Lost Musical Genius; Deirdre O’Connell; Overlook Press (2009)]

Yesterday we received an E-mail from Deirdre O'Connell which reads, in part: “Hello Mr Zick, I am a regular reader (and subscriber) to your blog Africlassical - which I enjoy very much - and have a contribution to make. For years I have been researching the life of Blind Tom Wiggins and am pleased to announce that the book I have written about him is released by Overlook Press today.”

ANNOUNCING THE RELEASE OF ‘THE BALLAD OF BLIND TOM, SLAVE PIANIST’ - Overlook Press present a new biography about the extraordinary slave pianist, Blind Tom Wiggins. Born into slavery in Georgia, Tom Wiggins died an international celebrity in New York in 1908. His life was one of the most bizarre and moving episodes in American history. One part genius and one part novelty act, Blind Tom embodied contradictions - a star and a freak, freed from slavery but still the property of his white guardian. His life offers a window into the culture of celebrity and racism at the turn of the twentieth century.

In this rollicking and heartrending book, Deirdre O'Connell takes us through the life (and three separate deaths) of Blind Tom Wiggins, restoring to the modern reader this unusual yet quintessentially American life. To mark the release of The Ballad of Blind Tom, a new website has been launched. A resource for musicians and historians, features new research, a short video about Blind Tom’s music, previously unseen clippings and photographs plus free sheet music to download. The Ballad of Blind Tom, Slave Pianist is reviewed in The Los Angeles Times by R.J. Smith: “Tom's is a story with bottomless complexity, touching on race and sanity and slavery and art. But ultimately, his life makes us think about what it means to be human.” While Publishers Weekly wrote: “O’Connell’s vivid, carefully researched narrative reflects the tenor of the times, the culture of the Old South, the chaos of emancipation and Blind Tom’s single-minded devotion to his performances."

1 comment:

Tween said...

I would like your permission to use the photo of Blind Tom, Slave Pianist in a book to be published soon.